An unusual material forms the basis for a new set of paintings by Coventry-based Terry Williams.
Entitled An Old Bird Still Sings, the exhibition includes a number of works painted on what appears to be unfolded cardboard boxes.
Terry said he started off experimentally with the works, then decided they were good enough to keep and exhibit – but then of course began the problems with keeping them safe and in a condition to be displayed on the wall.
They were created at the Artspace Artists Studios in Lower Holyhead Road in Coventry city centre where he is the longest-lasting studio holder. He graduated from Coventry University’s Fine Art degree in the 1980s.
The cardboard-based works in question have an American feel to them – something that seems to be occurring a lot in Coventry and Warwickshire exhibitions recently. Using photographs from various sources, Terry has painted people at leisure, enjoying the sun. The rippling cardboard as the basis for some adds a depth of texture which works well with the ideas of sand and sea. Terry said they were part of a set where he wanted to capture people “in the midst of life”.
Some people are in rows of deckchairs on the beach, with plenty of sunglasses and overflowing swim suits on show, and one shows a cheerful couple in the sea, the man improbably dangling a fish he looks very pleased to have, and it’s called appropriately, Proud. A fat man from one of the pictures is shown in more than one image, including a facial close up, and Terry said he keeps returning to him for more works. A couple in a car, called To The Beach, have a stylish 50s look to them. Sunset shows children frolicking on the beach
Terry’s main interests are figurative, and these works are skilled and show an interest in capturing people at rest but in situations which when put in close focus do appear strange and rather unrelaxed.
The exhibition also includes a set of works which have been on show before at the Pluspace Gallery in Coventry in 2012. There’s Cadet with Flag, then the same young man with Roses, Poppies and Brown Background.
Other works are more abstract, representing his other favoured style, lots with heavy impasto. Crazy Golf Mark One is a strange piece with what look like rocky islands bursting out of the sea with little golf flags on them. Fecundity Mark One, and Two, are two small abstracts which work well.
The title, An Old Bird Still Sings, comes from one particular work, which features a fairly abstract pile of computer hardware – but at the opening Terry said rather dryly that people had decided to interpret it as being rather a more personal title.
The exhibition fills the Lewis Gallery at Rugby School in Rugby, and the exhibition is on this week, 2-5pm.